*Pieces of Me* by TruthsDiary
"Better vs. Best"
Read a small post on Instagram recently from author Mark Manson that spoke about the “5 Words We Misuse/Overuse”. I was stunned and enlightened when I read his description of the word “BEST”; it stated that “This is a particularly American affliction. American culture is obsessed with the best. Who is the best? Are you doing your best? What has the best value? Who is the biggest, fastest, strongest, smartest, richest, happiest? The idea of best is an arbitrary designation based on whatever values we choose to hold. The idea of best is the enemy of growth. There is no such thing as best. There is only better.”
My first thought after reading this post was “Wow...he’s right. Americans ARE obsessed with what is the “best”, and we use that word a lot in many, if not all situations. We put value on our lives and others lives around the idea of what living the best life is...if you have the best car, job, wife, husband, body, etc. It’s crazy.” No wonder anxiety is the most common mental illness in America. And we acquire it so easily, and carry it like it's a normal part of life. But it’s not. It’s suffocating and holds you back from doing your best...whatever “best” is.
So when Mark mentions “...There is no such thing as best. There is only better.” I harmonized with that. Because the older I get, and the more I change, I have started to realize that I am only capable of doing BETTER, and that striving to be the best is not realistic and it's overbearing for me. While creating a mess of anxiety, me trying to do my best in every aspect of life has done more harm than good. And he hit the nail on the head when he said “ The idea of best is the enemy of growth.” I believe it has been my worst enemy of growth for sure. I strive to grow and learn so my life can be peaceful, but I don’t know all of the answers, and I am still finding new ways to cope with my anxiety and stress level. This post gave me insight to another part of me that holds me back, and it’s my unrealistic idea of being the BEST and not giving more emphasis on just being BETTER.
Throughout my life, I have always wanted to be the best at whatever I chose to do. Basically, whatever I like to do, I want to excel at it. And to be clear, I wasn’t worried about being better than someone else, as I am not a competitive person. But I wanted to make sure that whatever I chose to do, it was something I knew I could be the best at. And I think about where that word originated from anyway...but I can’t pinpoint where it came from exactly except that It was already instilled in me to always do my best and nothing less. I think about multiple people giving me advice or hearing speeches about always doing your best, and not settling for less. So to me, it was a no brainer to ALWAYS do THE best or MY best. And that if I didn’t, then I was a failure, which is bad. If I didn’t do my best, I was losing in life and I would always be the “less than” person to the one that IS doing their best. But what a sad and rigid way to think...there is no growth in that mentality. And If my main goal is to grow and learn throughout life, I have to let go of this idea that if I am not the best, I suck, I'm a loser, and I haven’t lived a good life. This is not true, and it creates a world of competitiveness and low self-worth. You start to feel like your value went down because you were not the best at something. But who told us we were the best at something anyway? And what brings them to the conclusion to grade our work and achievements as not being the best, when all we really should care about is being a better version of ourselves. Everyday and in every way. The hard work should be in making small steps to be better everyday, and striving to learn more and see more to know more. It is not that we didn’t win or achieve something because we were not the “best”, we did not get the title of “The Best” because we missed an opportunity to be better. That is all. The world has the nerve to be so competitive, yet we put such small emphasis on just being better. To be a better person, and to live a better life than you did before if it was not to your liking...that’s what matters. Are you better than you were before, if the person you were before was holding you back, making you cry, and giving you a high dose of doubt and despair? I hope so. This should be the hope for all of us. But instead we compare, prick, pry, judge, and compete to no end. But where does it lead us if it will never fulfill our lives in the long run. Because if you always want to be the best, you will never be done trying to be. Your cup will always be half full because you’re searching for a chance to be at the top, always, and it’s just not possible.
So I have decided to work on not saying “I want to be the BEST” at this or that. But replacing this idea with saying “I can only be better than I was yesterday; that is my goal. I want to be committed with discipline and perseverance so I can be better and deliver better results. This is realistic and achievable because I know how to make myself better as it is a tangible idea created by ME that is not compared or competing with anyone but myself.” Because If I take a moment to compare Better vs. Best, It will be like making a list of pros and cons. I will list all of the ways I made un-achievable requests and decisions to be the best at something, and when it fell through, I was more upset about not being the best and disappointing people who demanded the best, instead of taking it as a life lesson to see where I did BETTER so I move forward. Did I really fail in a negative way and let someone down who thought I could be the best at something? Or were their expectations unrealistic to begin with, and I just fell into the trap? When I list the things I have grown from...the things that are better now...I want to list the things that I came out of because I tried. I tried to BETTER my peace of mind by making the bold decision to leave my hometown at 18 and start a new life in a big city because I had enough toxic influences around me and I was on the hunt to find a better life to be at peace or at least pursue happiness. I want to remember the times when I was having anxiety attacks because I was trying to fix things that were out of my control. But in the end, I took a breath...multiple deep breaths, multiple times, and just took a minute to pray and bring down my heart rate to make a small decision to just let it go. And I just let it be, because sometimes that’s all you can do. No matter how strong you are. I don’t want to forget the time when I finally had enough of my bullshit and complaining and decided to make the decision to start over, but on my terms, in a better atmosphere so I could excel and DO BETTER. Because I knew I could. I know I wasn’t stupid, lazy, or lacked grit and a good work ethic. I just lacked discipline, confidence, and perseverance. I was so afraid to fall, get back up, and STILL have it fall apart. I wasn’t ready to be embarrassed by my failures or lack of knowledge. So worried that my problems would shine more than my achievements and good morals. But I made a promise to myself a long time ago that I would do better. But silly me, I thought it would have been easier than this, and I didn’t know so many people would let me down. Nonetheless, I can’t let MYSELF down. I can’t go backwards. I have to be better. Not the best, just better. That’s all I can do, and that all my mind can comprehend. I believe this will lead me into better situations where I can finally reach my goals. That’s all it takes...dedication and believing in yourself.
You know what’s funny, I used to go into interviews always saying “I always want to be the best at everything I do.” And then being surprised and upset when I failed at something I promised I would be the best at. Like, how did I really think that was going to go? I was trying to do more than what I could handle, by myself, with little sleep, and high amounts of stress. I didn't give myself realistic goals to ask, help, train, learn, and create more. I was so determined to be the best, that I lost sight of the learning journey of working on being better to even get to be the best. It’s like when we are told we are the best at something, it gives us a golden crown with the feeling of superiority. But this crown is temporary, because one day, someone else will come along and do better than you, and they will be crowned the best, and it’s up to you to take it as a learning curve, or a moment of failure. Is that person really the best? Or did they just do better than you at that point? It’s something to think about…
I am by no means the BEST version of myself, and I am by no means the BEST at everything I do. It’s time to let go of that fake dream of being the best at whatever I do. Now is the time to start doing better for myself and not seeking validation on being the best or not. Self-awareness is key.
To take BETTER care of myself, find a BETTER source of income, continue to obtain a BETTER calibur of friends, find a BETTER partner to love and care for, seek BETTER opportunities to achieve my goals, create a BETTER my sense of self-worth and determination, and be BETTER at being consistent on the creating the life I want. No regrets. No looking back.
YOU can do better, I can be better, WE are meant to be better. Change the goal of being the best to becoming a better YOU.